Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe–The Difference Between Hal and George In One Easy Step
By Joe Vitulli
If you ever wondered what the difference between George and Hal Steinbrenner is, just look at the uniforms Robinson Cano and David Robertson will be wearing in 2015. Both Cano and Robertson are All-Star-caliber players who came up through the Yankee farm system. Both became free agents and both signed with another team via free agency and neither was given a firm formal offer to stay.
The Yankees haven’t produced a lot of high end talent over the past decade but two of their best homegrown stars have left via free agency in consecutive years. While this may be commonplace in towns such as Tampa, Oakland or Kansas City, it is completely against the grain in the Bronx. The Yankees are usually the ones signing those free agents out of Tampa, Oakland and Kansas City not losing their own.
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When young homegrown stars like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada or Mariano Rivera became free agents, George Steinbrenner signed them all up on long term big money contracts. Andy Pettitte’s three-year exile in Houston notwithstanding, the Yankees take care of their own. Or at least they used to.
Today’s Yankees under Hal Steinbrenner chose not to re-sign either Cano or Robertson. They determined that it was too much money to sign them. They opted to let Seattle and Chicago pay them. So instead of Cano at second base last season, Yankee fans had to endure the likes of Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew. Next year instead of a dominant bullpen featuring Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Robertson, the Yankees will have to make do without Houdini.
Long term contracts are risky. Chances are that the Mariners will regret Cano’s contract well before it runs out. Four-year deals for relievers have a sordid history. But at the end of the day the Yankees greatest resource is money. They have more of it than any other team in the sport.
If winning the World Series every year is still the goal of the Yankees, then they would be closer to achieving that goal with Cano and Robertson. All it would have cost was money, money that the Yankees have, money that Hal didn’t want to spend, money that George wouldn’t have thought twice about spending.